10 Reasons to Avoid Self-Indulgent Blog Post Writing

I’ve written an article about tooting your own horn and why you need to. It has proved to be a fairly popular article but I wanted to touch on the other side with this 10 point list of reasons why you should avoid certain posts that only serve to please yourself.

Self-Indulgent Blog Posts

By definition, Blogging is an activity enjoyed by a community, an article is predominantly steered by the visions of a single person. Your ultimate goal as article writer is to spark the necessary fire in someone, or at least to entertain, provide information, solve an issue or clarify a point (that would be of use to someone).

  • You have two types of article, those with a short time limit of the moment, and those that have an enduring quality.

In this article I attack the self-indulgence angle because it interferes with the success criteria of your blog.

Before I Go Into the Reasons

Some introduction is required. What can we define as a Self-Indulgent Post? That may be difficult straight off the bat. Let’s define what isn’t a Self-Indulgent Post:

  • Does what it says and delivers
  • Doesn’t go into detail about personal information that may not be pertinent to the topic in hand
  • Has a purpose to the audience and transforms them upon leaving that article
  • Does not, once read, make us look like a jerk/jerkette
  • Doesn’t talk at us rather than involving us
  • Doesn’t continuously use the words Me, Myself and I
  • Fits the purpose of the blog context

Knowing the list above isn’t always enough, sometimes you feel motivated to share because your readers are friends, they’d want to know the issue that is burning in you, that’s what you tell yourself.

There are some rare exceptions to this rule but in 99% of cases you should take note of the next 10 reasons and plan your on topic work accordingly.

Reason 1: Nobody Gives an Extra Nipple What you are Raving About (And Soon You Won’t Either)

It is something that everybody finds out sooner or later once they’ve been blogging a while. If you write an over-indulgent blog post where you please yourself more than your audience, expect to find that you don’t get much attention.

In a real conversation why would you stand by somebody who is just talking about them self all the time? That kind of person is the person you ditch at the party or pray will latch onto somebody else.

How Can I solve this?

Research is key, if you are waning on subjects to talk about it may be worth slightly re-treading something you’ve already covered but with a cherry on top. Even better, go and find a topic that somebody was ‘recently’ discussing and see if you can have a tad of afterglow on that topic yourself. This is why you should really follow some blogs rather than being an island all to yourself.

Reason 2: People Respond Better to Help Than Middle of the Road

Solving issues is a big component of the Search engine potential of your Keyword so writing something that helps someone is far more likely to yield results than an indulgent post.

Middle of the road theories and lazy concepts don’t help anyone.

How Can I solve this?

Think about a template for your post with an objective that you will solve somebody’s problem by the end of the article. You want your reader to leave satisfied and preferably with another question you can answer.

You need a problem and a solution a fair amount of the time. The rest of the time if you are showing someone something behind the covers that can also help.

Reason 3: Your Opinion Destroys the Illusion of Impartiality and Objectivity

Being an Impartial voice can be useful in some circumstances but as soon as you affix a choice or bias to anything you write down, people will remember you for that choice and judge your consistency thereafter. To some individuals the possibility of you being an uncommitted expert might irk them enough to lose them potentially forever.

Certain Hollywood A-listers have in past decided to step off the fence with their political or religious views much to the outcry of fans who don’t agree. It can dent their career and put certain other stars and directors off working with them. Two examples are Tom Cruise and John Travolta who are very much captives of Scientology.

How Can I solve this?

Keep your flagrant opinions, those that hit controversial on the nose, locked up in the bank. You’re allowed to think what you like but you can’t always say what you like even in a free country. Once the gremlins are out of the closet you can’t get them back in so best never let them out in the first place.

Reason 4: Your Indulgence is Less Likely to have Lasting Appeal

I have written in the past about not agreeing with the term “evergreen” but I do believe that articles have an afterglow, some longer than others. I believe that self-indulgent blog posts will have far less of an ability to capture a long-lasting idea.

How Can I Solve This?

Research as mentioned is a good way of determining how much lasting appeal your post might have. Google Trends just to mention one place, is a good way of finding out how long your terms stay warm for. Because of Hypercompetition someone has more than likely covered what you’ve covered already. You either have to search for something that barely anybody is talking about but has appeal or do it better and hope you get some warmth.

Reason 5: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

But if you try sometimes you’ll get what you need! Sorry, Rolling Stone fans, how dare I squeeze a lyric into this post. But Mick’s got a point. This blog is not about you, it’s about your audience and what you have analysed they need. A lot of the time you’d love to write about every little thing that titillates and takes your fancy but you have to prioritise to what is urgent.

How Can I Solve This?

Sticking to some form of schedule can help. It should override your need to jump in with something off-key. On the rare occasion it is prudent to jump in with content that fits the time you are posting it but otherwise you should stick with the game plan, no matter how much it hurts, even if you aren’t able to meet the posting frequency you hoped for.

Reason 6: It Shows a Sign of Being Lazy

And nobody likes a lazy person. Say that you’ve been good up to now and are starting to enter a phase of over-confidence. You change the tone of your writing to involve more of the personal, so much so that you lose the purpose of the article in the first place. It was good for you but it had no benefit to others.

How Can I Solve This?

Having a third-party read your content is advisable. Someone more than just a commenter. They’ll soon be able to suggest the fly in your ointment.

Reason 7: If You Sit in a Particular Niche, Indulgences Will Start to Muddy Your Purpose

If you want to be found effectively, staying on topic helps a lot, providing value is important. As soon as you stop providing that information, you’re no longer serving your audience as effectively and you are risking a loss in your retention.

How Can I Solve This?

Sometimes it might be natural to branch a little from the core because in order to fight with incumbency (those big fish who crowd you out in the small pond) you will need to cover more than one area. This is fine but when you strike off in tangents in-congruent to your core topics, it may act to confuse your readers so you have to work out what your key areas are and make sure that you tick the boxes.

Reason 8: Arrogance is Unattractive

It really is. Albeit the entire current batch of Formula 1 drivers have no trouble getting women. Yet being acidic, ranty and prideful of your standing could prepare you for a fall. An arrogant person is the type of person you want to punch in the marble sack (even if they don’t have one) and those who are eager to see this type of person fail will gather in rejoice when they do (but more over will simply leave).

How Can I Solve This?

Drop the boasting. Be honest about your failures as well as your wins. It is common knowledge that failure bears the fruit of success so make sure your ying and yang are covered.

Reason 9: “Oh, it’s another one of those posts”

One that quickly gets ignored or at worst gets negative feedback. When they said all publicity is good publicity that isn’t actually true. You don’t want to end up with dung on your windows do you?

How Can I solve this?

Personal image can be perceived by your actions. Be a whiny windbag often enough and you’ll get known for it. Approach is important in how you are perceived. You need to be slightly less predictable in order to stay fresh.

Reason 10: Don’t Mention the War

There is a good chance that what you are covering, as well-meaning as it may be, could be something that everyone knows about already and has accepted. Dredging up the unpleasantly familiar is a quick way to turn a potential visitor off or at least be given a false picture about you and who you really are.

The term “trope” lends well to this reason not to commit the self-indulgence sin. It is like a joke where you groan afterwards in basic terms.

How Can I solve this?

Research is important. All the time that you are separated from fact is more chance that you’ll rely on established facts and potential tropes that go along with them. Posts that do well are those that have length, but with that length, keen insight. You can only achieve that keen insight through research.

Conclusion

Hopefully you’ve found these 10 reasons suitable motivation not to write self-indulgent posts. I would imagine that at least half of you reading this will break that rule at some stage in the year. Whilst it is no crime, don’t make a habit of it because you’ll take your blog an unhappy place if you do.

If you think there are any further reasons why, or you want your chance to dissect this article, make a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.

Research is something I bang on about quite religiously in this article. If you spend the time it will shine through. This article is a short condensed issue of the problems at hand. You might think that 10 items are rather arbitrary (and you’d be right), but it is important to ring-fence trouble before it crops up.

6 Comments 10 Reasons to Avoid Self-Indulgent Blog Post Writing

  1. Ahmad Imran

    Jackson, what a beautiful topic to write about. Something every blogger should carefully think about and consider in writing for their audience.

    I hundred percent agree with your point that your articles and blog posts should help your readers and not just tell them about you and yourself all the time.

    But there is one important point which is worth mentioning and you touched on it in your article too. Blogs are different to websites and people want to know about the author’s choice and opinion as well. So it is actually telling them about yourself and your choices – the key is that the overall objective should be to help them and not boasting and feeling your audience bored with your own stories.

    It is to find that fine balance.

    Great write-up Jackson, well done. Sharing with my little community as well.

    Reply
    1. Jackson Davies

      Thank you Ahmad! Always great to see your comment!

      Self opinion does come into it at point, I do agree (oh the irony). You have to have a balance between objectivity and subjectivity in what you write. Having recently been putting together some of the tougher assignments for my degree course, in order to provide a well balanced argument, I have to use objectivity where ever possible because being subjective won’t get you the marks.

      I think that often, readers of blog posts are looking for something definitive but if you provide too much objectivity in your work, it is as if you have no opinion of your own. In order to steer people you might want to be more subjective. Where this tends to work best is with passionate opinions or personal reviews of something. There are of course always exclusions to the rule but from what I’ve observed, bloggers can only inject more of their own personality when they have a significant following.

      Pat Flynn from SPI describes it by means of the pyramid. The very pinnacle of that pyramid is the amount of “self” you give to the public. The bigger your pyramid gets, the more of your ‘ego’ based work you can release to your audience. The point is that this amount always remains small in comparison to just providing quality and what somebody wants.

      I’m not sure what your experience has been with your blogging but I would imagine that those articles that help the audience more are the ones that do better. The bigwig bloggers refer to that kind of article as ‘Pillar Content’.

      Reply
      1. Ahmad Imran

        Jackson, well explained. You are right, it has to be a careful approach. The pyramid example is great, the more you are established and authoritative, the more you can express yourself and your choices easily. But before we reach to that level, providing solid and helpful information (like pillar content) is definitely a solid strategy.

        I always learn a lot reading your articles and via your insights through comments and conversations. Cheers.

        Reply
        1. Jackson Davies

          Thank you Ahmad!

          I latched onto the pyramid example from Pat because it was quite a powerful way of identifying the types of content that you should be thinking about to keep the site rounded in terms of “epic” content.

          That’s not to say that personal anecdotes are not permitted, its just to say that you have to be careful to the depth you go in your own pursuits. In other words, your personal pursuits are only useful if it helps somebody else out, it shouldn’t be there just for show.

          Thank you for your kind words, always appreciated!

          🙂

          Reply
  2. Eli Seekins

    I totally agree with you Jackson. Blogging is about community. Your articles should be about your readers.

    Writing about yourself all the time is lazy, selfish and unattractive.

    I did recently write a blog post about my story. Though I still did my best to make it about the reader. I used my story to inspire, but I didn’t make it about me (or at least I tried not to). The whole purpose of it was to serve as the “about me section” of my blog. But I didn’t want my “about me” page to be entirely about me, I still wanted it to be about my readers.

    I’m still new to blogging and have a lot to learn, but I think I did a good job.

    Anyways, you rock! Thanks for these tips.

    Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. Jackson Davies

      Hi Eli,

      Welcome to the blog!

      Your blog post about your story sounds like an interesting one because how do you keep from being too self indulgent whilst giving the audience enough about you, what you are about and what your site is for? It is a tricky balance at times but mentioning the people you’ve helped and who have given you inspiration can often help dilute “showy” “brag” elements.

      The about me section of the blog is a difficult area to get right because not only does it need to serve at the time but it needs to be kept updated over time. My challenge to you would be, if you are updating this as a post, how do you keep it focused? Part of the problem with a post vs a page is that unless you make the post sticky, it will fade. During my spring clean I’ve deleted a lot of content and many of those articles I thought were golden have been removed in the process because the audience determined they weren’t relevant enough.

      As for your story, that is pretty darn inspirational, I think you have a right to flaunt it.

      I think your blog has got great potential and you shouldn’t definitely stick with it 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words and I’m sure with the effort you’ll have plenty of future success. An old cliche but Rome is not built in a day 🙂

      Reply

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